The Act That Blossomed

by bdhesse

I’ve been sick since Tuesday, so I haven’t been able to blog. But now that I’m on the mend I’ll try to get back to blogging. It’s been crazy where I live. We had our first snow storm on Monday, which is very unusual. The trees still have all their leaves, so the snow caused a lot of damage. There are branches blocking side walks and roads all over the city, and a lot of people lost power for up to 11 hours on Wednesday. Walking to the university today, my partner and I noticed a tree branch weighing power line. Needless to say, the city has been hard at work trying to clean everything up. And, of course, the drastic weather change caused a lot of illness and prevented a lot of people from going to work and school. The weather is going back to normal though, and we should be back up to 20 degrees (celcius) in the next few days. But that’s not what this post is about. Here is my latest story:

As I walked down the street, my headphones in and my music blaring, I didn’t notice my glove work its way out of my pocket. I didn’t hear the lady shouting at me as she ran behind me down the busy street either. My music drowned out most of the sound around me: I had had a bad day at work and was really not in the mood to deal with more people. Grumpy clients do not make for an enjoyable experience.
I didn’t notice the woman until she tapped me on the shoulder as I waited at the crosswalk. I started, then turned around quickly, removing my head phones as I did so.
The woman stood there breathing deeply. She was a small, plump woman with a blue felt jacket that went down to her exposed knees and curly brown hair.
“You dropped this,” she said as she held my glove out to me.
I looked at it in surprise before checking to make sure that my glove was indeed missing from my pocket. “Oh, thank you,” I said cautiously as I became aware that my glove was nolonger in my pocket. I took my glove from the woman and put it back in my pocket, then reassured myself that my other glove was still there.
I looked back up in time to see the woman scurrying off the way she had come. I shrugged and crossed the road.
I turned my music back on, but lowered the volume to be on the safe side. I really didn’t need to lose yet another pair of gloves this winter.
I continued walking past store windows decorated for Christmas and residential areas with Christmas lights up on most of the houses and Christmas trees visible in many of the windows. It was all very pretty.
As I walked down one such residential street, I saw an old man in front of me. He had a ripped plastic bag in one hand and was picking up what appeared to be decorations lying in the snow.
I sighed to myself. I really didn’t want to stop, but it wouldn’t be right to walk past the man and not stop to lend a hand. Besides, wouldn’t I be out a glove if somebody hadn’t of gone out of their way to help me? So I slow down as I approach the man and pick up a handful of the decorations that were out of his reach.
“Do you need another bag?” I asked him, as I remembered that I had an empty plastic bag from lunch that day it my work bag.
“Do you have a spare?” the old man replied. “They make these things so cheaply these days.”
I smile warmly at him and pull out the bag. “Yes, they do, don’t they?” I say as I put the decorations in the new bag for him. “I usually try to bring one of those reusable bags with me if I’m going to be walking home. I’ve had one to many plastic bags break on me to trust them.”
The old man laughed. “My wife has some of those in her car, but I never thought to bring one,” he replied. “I guess I should keep that in mind. But thank you for all your help.”
“It was no problem,” I said as I continued on my way home. The old man continued his journey in the opposite direction.
I smile to myself as I walk. Suddenly this day seems far less miserable. I started whistling as I made my way out of the residential area and into another area with store fronts.
“Oh no!” I heard a teenage girl ahead of me shout as I approach her and her two friends.
I could see some bits of paper, bills probably, flying across the ground through the wind towards me. I quickly step on one without thinking, and grab a second one as it tries to make its way past me while I grabbed the bill under my foot. Two twenty dollar bills were in my hand. A third one disappeared past me too quickly to catch.
“Here you go,” I said as I approached the girls.
“Oh my gosh, thank you,” the one who had cried out replied. She was a tall girl with blond hair and a young face. She couldn’t have been more than 14.
“Do you think we’ll have enough for the movie?” a second, shorter girl asked quietly.
The third girl, a brunette as tall as the first girl, nodded. “But now we won’t be able to afford snacks,” she said woefully.
I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered the days when I would spend all my money for that week on a movie and popcorn with my friends. No doubt these girls had lost what to them was a significant amount of money, though it was an insignificant amount to me.
Digging through my bag, I pulled out a $20 bill and held it out to the girls. “Here, take this,” I said.
The girls stared at me. “You…you don’t have to do that,” the brunette said slowly.
I smiled at her. “I know,” I replied. “But I think you need it more than I do. Twenty dollars is a lot of money when you’re a teenager. I spend about five times this amount in a day easily, so it really doesn’t hurt me any to give some of it away sometimes.”
“Are you sure?” the shorter girl asked tentatively as she eyed the bill in my hand.
“Quite,” I replied. “It’s no trouble.”
The blond girl suddenly leaped out and hugged me. “Oh my gosh, thank you,” she repeated. She took the money as she continued to thank me, then the girls ran off.
I smiled to myself as I went on my way again. I was a block from home and I couldn’t help but think that it had been a wonderful day.